July 24, 2014

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Lorain Palace manager accused of pushing teen

LORAIN — The mother of a 15-year-old Lorain girl kicked out of the Palace Theatre told police that theater manager John Handyside pushed her daughter, according to a police report, making it the third time a teenager has accused Handyside of getting physical.

The teenager told police Handyside, 58, of Lorain, caught her 8-year-old cousin with candy in her pocket as they waited in line to buy movie tickets around 7 p.m. Saturday.

Handyside confiscated the candy and told the victim their group could have the candy back after the movie, police said.

The girl told police that a short while later, Handyside approached her again for “smacking her gum” while she was in line and made her spit it out. She admitted to having “an attitude” about both conversations, the report said.

The girl went outside to spit out her gum but when she tried to re-enter the theater, Handyside blocked her way with his foot and then “shoved her in the chest and pushed her backwards,” the report said.

Handyside told police he kicked the girl out of the theater because she was causing a disturbance over having the candy confiscated, but he denied pushing her.

In February 2009, a 16-year-old Amherst boy told police Handyside grabbed him by the back of the neck and yelled at him during the teenager’s first day of work.

The February report doesn’t include Handyside’s response to the allegation.

The boy’s father told police at the time “something should be done to stop this from being done to another employee in the future,” according to the report.

Police Chief Cel Rivera said the boy and his father were advised to see the prosecutor.

“That case is what we call suspended,” Rivera said. “Unless new information comes in or somebody files charges, then they won’t do anything more on that.”

A third teenager, an 18-year-old Sheffield Lake girl, was working at the Palace as an usher in November 2009 and told police Handyside grabbed her wrists, shoved her backward and shouted at her to return to her spot when she approached him about a seating problem, according to a police report.

She told police that a few moments later, Handyside “reached out to her shoulder and shoved her aside and into the wall,” as he passed her near the lobby doors.

Upset that Handyside had done this in front of customers, the teenager told police she decided to quit and went to get her jacket, but was stopped by Handyside as she tried to leave the building.

According to the report, Handyside tried to apologize, but when the girl told him he had no right to put his hands on her, “he grew angry again and shouted, ‘If you can’t handle it then get the hell out.’ ”

The November report also does not include Handyside’s response to the allegation.

Rivera said he was surprised to learn there were three assault complaints filed with police against Handyside involving teenagers.

Handyside did not return phone messages left Sunday seeking comment.

Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or acastelli@chroniclet.com.